I moved back to my hometown a few years ago and thought I would be surrounded by old friends. I soon realized everyone had moved on with their lives since I left. They had their own circle of friends now, and I found myself struggling to form new, strong friendships.
Have you ever felt jealous of the friendships you see on TV? I personally love the friendship between Meredith and Cristina on Greys Anatomy.
Would I ever find my person? I wanted someone to just talk to after a hard day. Or a friend to grab a drink and ask advice. Or take our kids out to the park and discuss our kids latest achievements.
I’ve decided the best step of action I can take is to first reflect on myself. How can I create strong friendships with others?
Am I Being Myself?
The easiest way to find your tribe is to put yourself out there. Talk to strangers, seek out events or activities to attend, and most importantly always be yourself. Don’t ever feel like you have to change to make friends. The best friendships come from people who love you for who YOU are and value YOU as a person. It doesn’t matter how many Instagram followers you have, or where you shop for clothes, or what title you have at work. It’s about who you are as a real person.
The only way to make strong friendships and be a better friend is to put effort into it. Having friends, family or a tribe of people to rely on requires trust, and mutual effort. These things don’t magically appear or just happen by coincidence. Trust is the only thing created through actions not words. That takes time and must be earned.
Am I Being Open?
It’s only when we are real and open with others, that others will be real and open with us. Let’s be honest — isn’t that what we are all looking for? We aren’t looking for surface-level friends. Instead, we are looking for people we can call on our darkest days. Our hearts long for friends who we can share our fears with and trust they will listen and offer good advice. We don’t want someone who’s just going to tell us what we want to hear.
We want someone who’s going to give it to us real, in honesty hour, to help us be our best selves.
Am I Being Vulnerable?
It’s terrifying, but truly rewarding, to put yourself out there. We need to be willing to share our fears and be vulnerable with people. We can’t expect anything from others we aren’t willing to do ourselves.
It’s important to actively listen and care, and invest in the friendship. We are all so different, but when boiled down to it, we share a lot of the same struggles and challenges. Having those raw conversations sometimes result in the best advice, realizations or bonding with others.
Am I Being Intentional?
Sometimes you must actively and creatively look for new friends or put work into old friendships. This may mean going out of your comfort zone. You might have to actually make an effort to make plans or look for new people in your life to befriend.
Try the Bumble BFF app! That’s how I met one of my good friends about a year ago. She said she liked that I was straightforward and honest in my info and convos. There’s also Meet Up, which allows you to find groups of people that do things together with a common interest. You can also start a conversation with someone you run into in your day to day activities, such as mom at school, someone at the gym, an acquaintance at an event you attend. Mutual interests are an easy way to start up a conversation.
Now go out into the world and find your people! I promise they’re out there!
Lindsay Winn is a marketing and engagement professional with a passion for food. Lindsay is a Frederick County native, and now resides in Baltimore with her son, Wyatt. She believes all women are capable of rising to overcome life’s challenges to embrace a full, confident, beautiful life.